August 5 – The Chick Being Born – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
Every crack is also an opening.
When in the midst of great change, it is helpful to remember how a chick is born. From the view of the chick, it is a terrifying struggle. Confined and curled in a dark shell, half-formed, the chick eats all its food and stretches to the contours of its shell. It begins to feel hungry and cramped. Eventually, the chick begins to starve and feels suffocated by the ever-shrinking space of its world.
Finally, its own growth begins to crack the shell, and the world as the chick knows it is coming to an end. Its sky is falling. As the chick wriggles through the cracks, it begins to eat its shell. In that moment—growing but fragile, starving and cramped, its world breaking—the chick must feel like it is dying. Yet once everything it has relied on falls away, the chick is born. It doesn’t die, but falls into the world.
The lesson is profound. Transformation always involves the falling away of things we have relied on, and we are left with a feeling that the world as we know it is coming to an end, because it is.
Yet the chick offers us the wisdom that the way to be born while still alive is to eat our own shell. When faced with great change—in self, in relationship, in our sense of calling—we somehow must take in all that has enclosed us, nurtured us, incubated us, so when the newlife is upon us,the old is within us.